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Reasons for attending a general emergency outpatient clinic versus a regular general practitioner - a survey among immigrant and native walk-in patients in Oslo, Norway.


ABSTRACT:

Objective

To explore reasons for attending a general emergency outpatient clinic versus a regular general practitioner (RGP).

Design

Cross-sectional study using a multilingual anonymous questionnaire.

Setting

Native and immigrant walk-in patients attending a general emergency outpatient clinic in Oslo (Monday-Friday, 08:00-23:00) during 2 weeks in September 2009.

Subjects

We included 1022 walk-in patients: 565 native Norwegians (55%) and 457 immigrants (45%).

Main outcome measures

Patients' reasons for attending an emergency outpatient clinic versus their RGP.

Results

Among patients reporting an RGP affiliation, 49% tried to contact their RGP before this emergency encounter: 44% of native Norwegian and 58% of immigrant respondents. Immigrants from Africa [odds ratio (OR)?=?2.55 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.46-4.46)] and Asia [OR?=?2.32 (95% CI: 1.42-3.78)] were more likely to contact their RGP before attending the general emergency outpatient clinic compared with native Norwegians. The most frequent reason for attending the emergency clinic was difficulty making an immediate appointment with their RGP. A frequent reason for not contacting an RGP was lack of access: 21% of the native Norwegians versus 4% of the immigrants claimed their RGP was in another district/municipality, and 31% of the immigrants reported a lack of affiliation with the RGP scheme.

Conclusions and implications

Access to primary care provided by an RGP affects patients' use of emergency health care services. To facilitate continuity of health care, policymakers should emphasize initiatives to improve access to primary health care services. KEY POINTS Access to immediate primary health care provided by a regular general practitioner (RGP) can reduce patients' use of emergency health care services. The main reason for attending a general emergency outpatient clinic was difficulty obtaining an immediate appointment with an RGP. A frequent reason for native Norwegians attending a general emergency outpatient clinic during the daytime is having an RGP outside Oslo. Lack of affiliation with the RGP scheme is a frequent reason for attending a general emergency outpatient clinic among immigrants.

SUBMITTER: Ruud SE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5361418 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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